HK man arrested for killing sick wife to end her suffering


A Hong Kong man was arrested on suspicion of murdering his terminally ill wife at home to end her suffering from cancer, police sources said on Thursday.

The case came to light when the 56-year-old man called police soon after 3.30am that day, saying his 54-year-old wife had passed out in the couple's flat at Pat Leung Building on Lee Man Road, Ap Lei Chau.

When officers arrived, they found his wife lying unconscious in bed. Police also discovered a tray of burnt charcoal in the bedroom.

The woman was taken to Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, where she was certified dead.

She had been suffering from end-stage lung cancer and had returned home from hospital during Lunar New Year.

Describing the incident as a "domestic tragedy", a police source said: "Initial investigation showed the man left a tray of burning charcoal in the bedroom to end her suffering."

Police arrested the man for murder.

As of 1pm, the suspect was being detained at Western Police Station for questioning, and had not been charged.

Lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun, representing the social welfare sector, said he hoped the case, if proven, would shame Hong Kong and reignite debate over legalisation of euthanasia for terminally ill patients.

Last year, the government launched a public consultation on proposed legal changes that would allow people to draw up an advanced medical directive - widely referred to as a "living will" - to specify treatments that they may not want, such as artificial respiration, if they are close to death.

The directive will be applicable if a person with a specified illness becomes terminally ill, enters a persistent vegetative state, goes into an irreversible coma or has other end-of-life illnesses. But they cannot request illegal procedures, such as euthanasia or mercy killing, or denial of basic care or palliative treatment.

Shiu said the law reform did not address patients suffering from long-term illnesses and a slow death. He called for an overhaul with the euthanasia option put on the table.

The legislator said better services for the elderly, such as more carers and nursing homes, were also needed to serve the greying population.

Source: South China Morning Post

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